The Myth Of Productivity

I was talking to THE NEIGHBOR the other day and she offered up a great piece of advice:

You need to free yourself from the idea that you need to constantly be productive.

THE NEIGHBOR has a roughly two year lead on me in retirement and has offered to help guide me through some of what I’ll encounter.  Her point here is that you spend all day at work doing things. Even when you’re slacking off, you’re still driven to try to fill up your time productively. She counseled me that any attempt to fill up my day with productive activities would wear me out.

She was right.

By 2 PM on my first day I had already run three miles, read two chapters of a textbook, completed the first hour of instruction of a class on Python, headed to the grocery store for supplies for dinner, repaired a broken shelf in the bathroom, and now I was headed out to shop again before starting dinner.

I stopped my car in front of her house and she said “You didn’t listen to me about that productivity thing, did you?”

Nope.  And she was right.  The day wore me out. And it was all because I wanted to be able to show myself and THE WIFE that I was doing something. LOOK AT ME! I’M NOT A SLACKER! I CAN PROVE TO ALL OF YOU HOW MUCH I CAN GET DONE WITH ALL OF THIS FREE TIME!

Yeah… that’s not a good long-term strategy.  So now I’m going to have to figure out what the right balance is.

4 comments on “The Myth Of Productivity

  1. Yeah, I totally ignore this advice. I’m “retired” in the same way and I work fiendishly whenever the opportunity arises. Having a small child that requires constant attention whenever she’s around certainly motivates me to take advantage of the moments when she’s not, but even so: time is short, and there’s stuff to be done.

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